Sunday, June 15, 2008

Farewell Parties at Fanning Island

Wednesday, We went to Ekeaua and Taeribwa's for a farewell party and to meet their family. They killed a pig and had a nice feast for us. We played 1-2-5, the popular card game. I tried a little "sour toddy". It was good. It is fermented juice that leaks out of a palm tree if you cut the blooms off where it is about to make new coconuts. I asked what it was, and Ekeawa said "tody tea", so when I ask Taeribwa for more "tody tea" I got Lipton, with unfermented tody in it....Communication errors again!
We mostly just sat around, ate, visited and played cards. It was a really nice day.

While we were there the chairman for the local Catholic Church came and insisted we come back to a farewell party from the church. It was to be Thursday. Reluctantly we finally agreed. It is still a 5 mile ride on the bicycles.

When we got back to the church it turned out to be a formal occasion. The members of the congregation all voted the Sunday before to give us a party so it was a good thing we decided to go. They invited Robby and Lorraine too. Robby stayed home though.

They had speeches first. We sat on one side of the maneaba and the men for the church sat on the other. The ladies sat behind them. Trinda, Lorraine, Borau and I sat with Zippy, a translator. They first started with a welcome speech including the fact that we were the first cruisers to bother to come all the way down to their village to make friends. They really appreciated us for that. After each one of them spoke, they expected Lorraine and I to stand and make a reply speeches. I didn't do too
well, but did thank them several times.

They lined up all the food dished down the center of the maneaba and I had to start eating by taking some from each of the boxes or bowls. There was maybe 30 dishes! But I did try.

After eating and a couple of dances, they like to jitter-bug and twist, they had me take pictures of each of the men and some of the maneaba. They want to build a church separate from the village meeting house (maneaba). I promised to put up a web page with their request. I'll have to wait until I can get to the internet to do it. I have pictures and the address to send donations to.

Then Saturday Southern Cross and us planned a big farewell party. It was mostly Lorraine. Teuta and Ruby said they would kill and roast a pig in the ground. I really wanted to see how that was done. I went up to their house on the school truck Friday night with the kids and spent the night with them. I slept on a raised platform with a pandanas leaf mat and my pillow. My back and shoulders are still sore! those mats are less than a eighth of an inch thick. We had rice, bread and canned mackerel for
supper and "doughnuts", sweet bread balls deep fried, and bananas for breakfast.

I watched them kill the pig, just slit its throat. Then they made a torch of dry palm leaves and burned the hair off. Then they scraped the hair and a layer of hide off with knives. Next they washed and scrubbed it with green papaya fruit cut in half. The "oven in the ground" was a small hole in the ground with dry coconut husks set afire and carefully stacked with more dry husks. Then coral rocks, then the large pan with the cut up pig, covered with another large pan. Then the whole works was covered
with mats made from woven dry palm leaves then an old piece of linoleum to help hold in the heat. 4 hours later the pork was well done.

Teuta went fishing with his buddies, it was Saturday after all, and I drove Ruby, the kids and the pork back to the dock in their truck. I still have a little trouble with the right hand drive. The road is so rough that it takes about an hour to drive the 5 miles each way.

Lorraine had hired a band to play for the party. And we each invited our friends. She then put up signs around the island inviting everyone else too. Only about 50 people came and they were 2 hours late. It was to be at 3:00 PM. We hired a truck to pick up our friends on the South end, Arimeri, and bring them by 3:00 and take them back at 6:30. It was late too. At 5 we finally got started eating and the ferry showed at 6 to take them back! It was all kind of a fiasco! We did enjoy seeing our friends

The Kwai has had 3 delays, and is now supposed to be here tomorrow. We'll get our parts and supplies then head out Thursday. Taeribwa and Ekeaua are planning to spend the night with us Wednesday. I think they are bringing more bananas.

Three people, 2 Chinese and one of them's Kiribati wife are stranded here and have asked us to take them back to Christmas when we go. We have agreed. So we are bound for Christmas Island again.

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